Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"[Science fiction is ] That branch of literature which is concerned with the impact of scientific advance upon human beings."
- Isaac Asimov

Cone of Silence  
  Distortion field that limits the carrying power of voice or other vibration; it accomplishes noise reduction with an image-vibration 180 degrees out of phase.  

This is such a great phrase; it only occurs once in the short story.

Abruptly, he froze. in all clarity, every diagram in place, every equation, every formula complete--all spread out in his mind was the instrument he knew could end this war. Uncontrolled shivering took over his body. He swallowed in a dry throat.

His gaze stayed on the screen before him. The two glow spots joined, moved into the tank crater. Hulser bent into the cone of silence at his phone. "This is OP 114. 1 have two greenies at co-ordinates O-6-C-sub T-R. I think they're setting up an OP!"

From Cease Fire, by Frank Herbert.
Published by Conde Nast in 1958
Additional resources -

It appears that the first use of this term is in the syndicated TV show Science Fiction Theatre in an episode titled "Barrier of Silence" written by Lou Huston and first airing September 3, 1955.

This piece of technovelgy is also used to great effect in Dune, Herbert's greatest novel. In the following excerpt, the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and the imperial assassin Count Fenring are having a private conversation at a reception for a gladiatorial contest:

"There's a cone of silence between two of the pillars over here on our left," the Baron said. "We can talk without fear of being overheard." He led the way with his waddling gait into the sound-deadening field, feeling the noises of the keep become dull and distant.

The Count moved up beside the Baron, and they turned, facing the wall so their lips could not be read.

This is an idea that has found some practical applications. Many people use noise reduction equipment or noise suppression earphones or headsets while traveling on jets. I'm not aware of any devices of this kind that provide a space in which noise is suppressed. I don't think anything was available to consumers in 1965.

For those who remember 1960's television, the series Get Smart actually featured a device called a "cone of silence" that looked like a pair of linked bubbles; in keeping with the comedic style of the show, it never worked.

You might want to check out a similar idea - a "hush corner" - published by Robert Heinlein about two years earlier in Double Star, as well as the Fenton Silencer from an early Arthur C. Clarke story. Also, the isolation barrage from Wandl, The Invader (1939) by Ray Cummings.

Special thanks to Bob Bogle, who wrote in with the earlier Cease Fire reference.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 6 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Cease Fire
  More Ideas and Technology by Frank Herbert
  Tech news articles related to Cease Fire
  Tech news articles related to works by Frank Herbert

Articles related to Engineering
Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
Google Perfects 'Blade Runner-style' Photo Details
CloudFisher - Moroccan Fog Farmers Harvest Moisture From The Air
Dilbert Writer Scott Adams Plans For Immortality

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

Robotic Physician Assistant Has Steady 'Hands'
'You turned the screws below and the prongs moved... with caliper slowness, minuteness and precision.'

Roboy 3DPrinted Humanoid Robot
'A robot child that would be reared within the bosom of a human family...'

Robird Flapping Wing Drones Keep Airports Safe
'Mitch heard a rasping, flacketing buzz, like a big insect...'

3D Printed Fashion - Plastirobes And Transdresses
'... dial a new fashion every day!'

Robotic Lawn Mower Powered By Sun, Arduino
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself like a contented hen...'

Google Perfects 'Blade Runner-style' Photo Details
'Pull back... stop... enhance 57-19...'

Pokerbot Libratus Learns To Lie (Bluff)
'Lying's a vital part of your psychological defense system - you're naked without it!'

Otto Autonomous Robot Trucks Run Into... Legal Snag
'They were automatic trucks such as are used for making deliveries...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.